On April 10, 2023, Robert L. “Bob” Marks, 91, passed away at his home in Clancy, MT with grace and peace.
Bob was born in Helena, MT, the second son of Merle and Evelyn Marks on January 11,1932.
Bob was raised on the family ranch in Clancy, attending grade school there and then going on to high school in Boulder at JCHS. He learned his work ethic from his father at a young age, taking care of draft horses, threshing grain, milking cows, putting up hay, and the many other duties of ranch life. After attending University of Montana and Montana State, Bob decided that higher education was not for him and pursued a career of ranching full time. He got married to his bride Barbara Myles in 1951 and started his family of six children. Bob loved ranch life, being outside and enjoying nature, but this alone could not support his family. He continued to use the old sawmill his father had put together for cutting mine timbers and construction work in the early 1900’s and began harvesting logs and then cutting lumber for his home and ranch buildings while also selling lumber as a side business. Bob divided some properties in the Clancy and Lump Gulch areas that were not suitable for ranching, and constructed homes on them. He astutely watched for land deals on neighboring properties to his existing ranch holdings and purchased them when they became available, thus making his cattle capacity for the ranch more manageable.
Bob loved his community and at an early age started volunteering his time in different ways. He was a member of the Clancy Volunteer Fire Dept. for 41 years and served on the Clancy and JCHS school boards for a combined 20 years. He was a lifelong member of Clancy United Methodist Church and spearheaded and built additions to the church over the years. Bob was a member of the Boulder Masonic Lodge and was also a Shriner.
After developing people skills on school boards, Bob chose to enter politics and in 1968 ran a successful campaign for the state legislature in his home house district which included Jefferson, Broadwater, and Meagher counties. For the next twenty years, Bob represented this district, while holding Republican leadership positions, Speaker Pro Tempore, Minority Whip, Republican Leader and two terms as House Speaker. During this time, he also chaired the Western District of the Council of State Governments and got to know a lot of other legislators and leaders across different states. In 1989, newly elected Governor Stan Stevens appointed Bob to head the Department of Administration. Throughout his political career Bob learned the art of compromise and gained the friendship of hundreds of people on both sides of the aisle.
In 1982 Bob and Barb thought it would be a good idea to have a small bar and restaurant in Clancy. They built the Legal Tender Cafe and had a good friend, Bob VanDyke, manage it.
After retirement from state government in 1993 Bob still desired to support his community and involved himself in leading the newly established Jefferson County Local Development Corporation for six years. He was honored to serve as a director for the First Boulder and First Madison Valley Banks for ten years.
Bob liked to reminisce about past history, and due to his excellent memory and quick wit, was able to share interesting and fun details with his family and also the Clancy community.
He was involved in a development and construction group, Spring Creek Company, a group of friends that bought and sold properties in the Helena area. Bob and Barb spent a couple of months each winter traveling with their Clancy friends to Arizona until Bob got the itch to come home.
He was a woodworking extraordinaire and could be found in his woodshop building cabinets, tables, and furniture of all kinds for his family and friends. Bob loved gardening and always took pride in his produce that he shared willingly with everyone.
Bob had many good times traveling, camping, horse packing, and river floating with his wife, his children and his grandchildren.
As Bob’s campaign slogan would state “Make your mark for Marks”, Dad certainly left his mark with his family – wisdom, integrity, work ethic and love.
Bob was predeceased by his parents, Merle and Evelyn, his Aunt Myrtle, brother Doug, and an infant grandson Dallas.
Survivors of Bob include his wife Barbara, son Bob “RD”(Andi), daughter Beverly Miller (Denny), sons Gary (Debbie), Steve (Laura), Rick (Jane), Chris (Punkin), grandchildren Justin (Dawn), Clancy (Jennifer), Brian Miller (Amy) Kerri Potts (Steve) Kail (Emily), Kyrie Russ (Timm), Krista Weis (Clint), Jamie Stearns (Morgan), Cody (Christie), Tyson and Hayden. Additionally,19 great grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren and two unborn babies on the way.
A memorial service celebrating Bob’s life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, April 17th at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 N. Montana Ave. A reception will follow the service in the social hall at the funeral home. Memorials may be sent to Clancy Volunteer Fire Dept, 1 Railroad Way, Clancy, MT 59634, Clancy United Methodist Church, PO Box 30, Clancy, MT 59634 or Montana Wood Products Association Scholarship fund PO Box 1967, Missoula, MT 59806. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Bob.